This is a post I have been meaning to write for at least 18 months. When first conceived it was in part a prediction. Recent events have conspired to make that prediction a reality, which has encouraged me to get it out there. It is post about the three Ds of modern political communication: Deception, Deflection and Disruption.
It all started with Deception. Many people have accused UK Prime Minister Tony Blair of being a liar. In truth, he was far too clever to deserve this label. Calling Tony Blair a liar is a bit like calling a successful poker player a liar. What Tony Blair and a successful poker player have in common is that the practice of deceit is fundamental to their success. Indeed the whole New Labour project was built upon deception. There was, of course, the grand deception designed to create support or justification for the Iraq war but at a more prosaic level there was the deception that New Labour was a party that was going to deliver on any of its promises, when in fact all they were doing was kicking the can down the road – just another variant of TINA (There Is No Alternative) politics. Labour confused being a party of opposition with being a party in opposition, a problem which exists to this day – but that is another story.
The Conservative-lead government of David Cameron learned a lot from New Labour. Continue reading
Here are some thoughts on the UK election. I know it is not really about social media, but it is about the The Story of British politics, as I see it anyway.
- We are still waiting for the change we voted for in 1997.
- People want a change of direction much more than they want a change of Government.
- The change people want isn’t a political one in the sense of left or right, Labour versus Conservative – although the individual parties are trying to dramatise it as such.
- What people want is for Government to re-discover the art of governing – rather than simply contracting-out its responsibility to manage the essential pieces of social and economic infrastructure that hold a nation together.
- The problem isn’t that we are burdened by the State, it is that the State isn’t doing its job properly. Society isn’t broken, Government is.
- Competition, enterprise and markets create winners and losers. This is fine when it is Sainsbury versus Tesco – but we don’t want an education or healthcare system of winners and losers.
- Forcing a market system into an area where a market does not naturally exist (like the public provision of healthcare or education) creates bureaucracy and in-efficiencies as we generate the artificial beans for newly appointed bean-counters to count, rank and organise into league tables (like we see in the National Health Service and in schools).
- Running a successful private school is not the same as running a successful public education system. The ability to do one does not translate into an ability to do the other. Private companies can, and should, focus on running individual institutions where there is a genuine market for them. Government needs to focus on managing the system.
Unfortunately no major party seems to have bought into this story – but I have a suspicion that the majority of voters – of all political persuasions – are waiting for someone to tell this story. And that’s the problem – especially for the Conservative party – and it is the reason why the Conservatives are not way-ahead in the polls.
I’m voting Green Party!